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Why Gasoline Isn't $4 Per Gallon Nationally

Pipe is stacked at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla.
Pipe is stacked at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla.Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The recent surge in U.S. gasoline prices may be stalling thanks to a growing supply of crude oil and a retreat by speculators in the futures market. After weeks of consecutive increases, the average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. fell more than a penny this week, from $3.94 on April 2, to $3.93 on April 9. In California, the state with the highest gas prices in the lower 48, prices fell to an average of $4.28 a gallon on April 9, down from $4.35 three weeks ago.

“I think we’re seeing the gas and diesel markets start to run out of steam,” says Ben Brockwell, director of data and pricing at Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), a New Jersey-based energy research firm. Two weeks ago, Brockwell was all but certain the price of gas would hit a national average of $4 a gallon by the end of April. Now he’s not so sure: “There’s a chance this market has peaked and that we won’t see $4 average prices at the pump.”